Kirstin Jones –  Sky Legal Team 

Kirstin shares her journey to becoming GC at SKY, about building a team, and her top tips for others on their journey to GC.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your journey to becoming a GC and Company Secretary?

The formative part of my career was spent in the UK, after I left for the quintessential 2 year ‘look-see’ and remained in London for two decades. My first in-house role in the UK was with the Royal Mail legal team, which had over 100 lawyers and was run a bit like a law firm with the dreaded timesheets but without any funky unisex toilets! After Royal Mail, I’ve held various in-house roles in infrastructure, technology and telecommunications companies, enjoying the challenge of working across different global industries and expanding my commercial & TMT skills.

When my mind turned to ‘home’, I was lucky to join the talented and fun Vodafone legal team until I was wooed across to Sky by Sophie Moloney, then Sky GC. The opportunity to step into the role of GC came up after the inspiring appointment of Sophie as Sky’s CEO, so for me becoming Head of Legal then GC and in the last year Company Secretary, have been fortuitous and organic steps in my career.

Lifelong learning is a huge part of what makes me tick. I’m in the final year of my Masters of Law, and whilst the juggle is real, learning about AI, competition law ramifications or, my current paper, the challenges of climate change law, really does spark joy!

What do you love about your job, what is unique and great about working for Sky?

Working for a company that brings laughter, tears and drama into people’s lives is awesome. I love that working for Sky means there are plenty of topics to chat about around the BBQ. Everyone has their favourite movie, TV binge or sports event to opine on, and much of that is available from Sky’s amazing content offering, be it an HBO drama on Neon or Women’s football on Sky Sport Now (unapologetic plug!). It’s also an opportunity to korero about the realities of running a content business – great content comes at a cost, and keeping our diverse range of customers entertained whilst remaining resilient to global competitive pressures is challenging, but also very stimulating.

Can you tell us a little about your team, how you have gone about building it up – how many people, and what makes it tick?

There are four of us in the Sky legal team (aka the Sky Justice league!). Like many small in-house teams, we strive to strike the right balance between providing in-depth support for key business stakeholders and keeping abreast of the needs of the broader Sky business. This can be tricky as not all of our advice fits into the generic (and very valuable!) commercial lawyer’s kit bag. My very accomplished team provides advice ranging from content acquisition deals, privacy, regulatory wranglings, and consumer compliance alongside my company secretarial duties. After a period of natural attrition, building up a team again can be daunting but should never be done at haste. Involving business stakeholders in the recruitment process has been critical to getting the dynamic right. As a team I think we have a healthy balance of mutual respect, collaboration, trust and curiosity. Working with colleagues who are genuinely interested in learning about how Sky operates and how the legal team can amplify Sky’s success, is key to what makes the Sky Justice League awesome.

Do you use legal tech, other tools to make engagement with your customers seamless?

We’ve been using LawVu for four years now. It’s a convenient tool with good reporting features and a handy DocuSign plug-in, and LawVu provides excellent support when needed. The tool was initially rolled out for the legal team, but in the last year or so, colleagues across the business, in our procurement, partnerships, and commercial teams, have started using it, which is great. The key to getting the most out of legal tech is finding people in your team and the business eager to champion its use.

What is your top tip for others on their journey to GC?

My top tip for others is very straightforward – back yourself, believe in yourself, and don’t doubt your voice or your place at the table. Easier said than done, I know, and I’m not immune to the ‘downward doubt spiral’, but reminding yourself that you deserve your new role, whatever it is, is vital, in my view, to giving yourself space to relish in it.

Anything else you would like to add?

It would be remiss of me not to mention the excellent support we’ve enjoyed from SHIFT consultants – being able to access experienced, enthusiastic lawyers who fit into our business and team seamlessly, has been extremely valuable and reassuring.

Kirstin Jones - Sky New Zealand

Kirstin Jones, General Counsel & Company Secretary - Sky New Zealand